'We've come to love you,' the nurse said after introducing herself and another nurse.
It was the strangest and most beautiful thing to say to me as I lay in my hospital bed a day before elective surgery. Spoken in the same tone as 'If there's anything that you need, please just press the call buzzer.' Not in a sentimental voice nor a perfunctory one nor in a rote meeting of a mission statement. She meant it.
They left and I looked out of the window and felt held in an overwhelming peace.
Imagine going to work and loving.
Ridiculous. Work is work. There are Widgets to be made. Budgets to be met. Profits to be achieved. Love is a powerful, erratic, distracting, whimsical emotion that is reserved for intimate relationships built up over time through trust and commitment and has no place in a professional workplace.
We leave love at home along with the novel by our bed, the guitar and sheet music in the spare room, the cookbooks in the kitchen, the half written MBA assignment.
We spend about a third of our lives at work - not seeking, offering nor expecting love.
Is it possible we are not engaged with our work because we've partitioned it off from love?
Is the exclusion of love in labour - whether experienced as workers, bosses or customers of someone else's work - a contributor to almost half of all Australians experiencing mental illness at some time in our life?
If a military commander believes that love is a prerequisite for Leadership then shouldn't our boss feel the same way?
Is love of every person and thing a science that can be learned and applied as in the short story A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud?
Do we choose to work to escape the demands, obligations and struggles of loving?
If we are to become who we are - can we do so without loving and being loved at work?
'The old man still held the collar of the boy's jacket; he was trembling and his face was earnest and bright and wild. "For six years now I have gone around by myself and built up my science. And now I am a master. Son. I can love anything. No longer do I have to think about it even. I see a street full of people and a beautiful light comes in me. I watch a bird in the sky. Or I meet a traveler on the road. Everything, Son. And anybody. All stranger and all loved! Do you realize what a science like mine can mean?"'
- 'A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud', Carson McCullers